Mark Twain′s Pudd′nhead Wilson

Race, Conflict and Culture

Mark Twain′s Pudd′nhead Wilson

Book Pages: 280 Illustrations: Published: July 1990

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, American Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

This collection seeks to place Pudd’nhead Wilson—a neglected, textually fragmented work of Mark Twain’s—in the context of contemporary critical approaches to literary studies. The editors’ introduction argues the virtues of using Pudd’nhead Wilson as a teaching text, a case study in many of the issues presently occupying literary criticism: issues of history and the uses of history, of canon formation, of textual problematics, and finally of race, class, and gender.

In a variety of ways the essays build arguments out of, not in spite of, the anomalies, inconsistencies, and dead ends in the text itself. Such wrinkles and gaps, the authors find, are the symptoms of an inconclusive, even evasive, but culturally illuminating struggle to confront and resolve difficult questions bearing on race and sex. Such fresh, intellectually enriching perspectives on the novel arise directly from the broad-based interdisciplinary foundations provided by the participating scholars. Drawing on a wide variety of critical methodologies, the essays place the novel in ways that illuminate the world in which it was produced and that further promise to stimulate further study.

Contributors. Michael Cowan, James M. Cox, Susan Gillman, Myra Jehlen, Wilson Carey McWilliams, George E. Marcus, Carolyn Porter, Forrest Robinson, Michael Rogin, John Carlos Rowe, John Schaar, Eric Sundquist



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Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction / Susan Gillman and Forrest G. Robinson vii

Pudd'nhead Wilson Revisited / James M. Cox 1

The Sense of Disorder in Pudd'nhead Wilson / Forrest G. Robinson 22

Mark Twain and Homer Plessy / Eric J. Sundquist 46

Francis Galton and Mark Twain: The Natal Autograph in Pudd'nhead Wilson / Michael Rogin 73

"Sure Identifiers": Race, Science, and the Law in Pudd'nhead Wilson / Susan Gillman 86

The Ties that Bind: Race and Sex in Pudd'nhead Wilson / Myra Jehlen 105

Roxana's Plot / Carolyn Porter 121

Fatal Speculations: Murder, Money, and Manners in Pudd'nhead Wilson / John Carlos Rowe 137

"By Right of the White Election": Political Theology and Theological Politics in Pudd'nhead Wilson / Michael Cowan 155

Pudd'nhead Wilson on Democratic Governance / Wilson Carey McWilliams 177

"What did he reckon would become of the other half if he killed his half?": Doubled, Divided, and Crossed Selves in Pudd'nhead Wilson; or, Mark Twain as Cultural Critic in His Own Times and Ours / George E. Marcus 190

Some of the Ways of Freedom in Pudd'nhead Wilson / John H. Schaar 211

Notes 229

About the Contributors 255

Index 257
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1046-4
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